CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Morgan Pearson turned in another brilliant weekend to help guide the Converse (2-6) volleyball team to a split in a pair of games during the final day of the Queens Invitational. The Valkyries dominated Winston-Salem State in the first match of the day, sweeping the Rams 3-0 (25-17, 25-10, 25-21) before falling to Anderson by the same score (25-10, 25-16, 25-13) in the nightcap.
GAME ONE: CONVERSE 3, WSSU 0
Converse wasted no time building a comfortable lead in the opening set, jumping out to a 10-3 advantage. The early spurt was fueled by a 5-0 run in which Elizabeth Yohe and Pearson combined to lead the offense with massive kills.
However, WSSU battled its way back, using a 9-2 run to knot the frame at 12-all. The Valkyries reestablished the advantage with five straight as they capitalized on several mistakes from the Rams attack game. Scoring eight of the next 13 points, Converse was able to take set one 25-17.
Set two belonged solely to the wearers of the Purple and Gold. Initially the set was even as the two teams exchanged the first 12 points. Three separate runs of four straight or more, including four consecutive kills from Pearson, allowed Converse to dominate, taking a commanding 2-0 match lead with a 25-10 win in the second set. The Vals attack game was balanced as six different players tallied at least one kill.
Up 2-0 and not wanting to go to a pivotal fourth set, Converse put the pressure on early after taking a 9-6 lead early following a kill from Jordan Mrkvicka. However, the Rams were able to come back and take their first lead of the day (12-11) to put CC on its heels. From that point the set saw six ties, but with the score at 17-17 Kiara Cannon demolished a ball into the floor to fuel a 3-0 mini run, giving the Vals a 20-17 mark.
It was all academic the rest of the way as Converse held on to capture the third set, 25-21, and the match, 3-0.
Pearson recorded her second double-double of the season with 12 kills to go along with 14 digs. Sydney Allen and Yohe also recorded 14 digs in the winning effort. Lauren Tharrington dished out a team-high 13 assists.
GAME TWO: CONVERSE 0, ANDERSON 3
Anderson started the first set with three straight and nine of 11 to take an early advantage. That lead quickly grew to double-digits (17-7). The Valkyries could not gain any ground on the Trojans, dropping set one 25-10.
Converse was the aggressor in the second frame as it took four of six to start following a kill from Ansley Hodge, but four in a row from AU gave the Trojans a 6-4 lead after the first 10 points. A Pearson kill brought Converse to within a single point (11-10) before Anderson used a 7-1 scoring run to push ahead 18-11. An attack error by the Trojans sandwiched between kills from Cannon and Tharrington cut the deficit to 18-14, but that was as close as it would get with AU taking set two by the final of 25-16.
After Anderson went ahead 5-1 to start the third, the Valkyries collected four of the next seven to close the gap to 8-5 midway through. However, a 9-2 blast from the Trojans put the Vals back against the wall, trying to avoid the sweep. Unfortunately, the momentum stayed in the corner of the Trojans as they were able to capture the set 25-13, earning a 3-0 match win.
Pearson led the Vals once again on offense with seven kills, while Yohe added six daggers of her own. Tharrington and Mrkvicka combined to record 19 assists and Allen tallied nine digs.
Converse will return to action on Wednesday, September 4, traveling to Greenwood, S.C. to take on Lander in a non-conference showdown. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.